Ask Dee Lane

All of your wedding etiquette questions answered – no matter how awkward.

Dear Dee,
I’ve heard a lot of people talking saying that airbrushed makeup is best for your wedding, but a good friend of mine used it for her June 2010 wedding, and it didn’t look so great. Are there cons to this new trend, or did my friend just have a less-than-stellar makeup application?

Alexa Hart
New Orleans


Airbrushing is a method for applying makeup base – often silicone- or water-based. It uses an air gun machine that produces a thin, even layer of base with a matte finish and is known for its flawless look, weightless feel and its disinclination to wear off or transfer off your face – it won’t go anywhere until you wash it off. This makeup is often used for events that take place in extreme heat or humidity – fit for New Orleans most of the summer – because it’s less likely than traditional makeup to “melt off,” and can even cover up scars and tattoos. On the other hand, if it becomes wet through crying or sweating, you run the risk of streaking. It is recommended for oily and combination skin; if you have very dry skin, this isn’t the makeup for you.

Mineral makeup is also becoming very popular. It is composed of several minerals treated through oxidizing processes, which create different shades that are then crushed to form fine powders, applied to the face using brushes or sponges. It isn’t, however, appropriate for your wedding day, as its natural composition includes minerals with reflective properties that leave a pearlescent finish; any lights in the room and camera flashes will all be reflected, causing the face to appear distinctly lighter than the rest of the body.

Traditional makeup has the largest variety (liquid, pressed powder, pancake, cream, etc.), is the most versatile and comes in the largest selection of colors. This is the only form of makeup that, when applied properly, can be used in any situation at any time. Drier and more mature skin can benefit from thicker foundation, while younger women tend to prefer oil-free liquid or pressed powder. It can rub off and/or fade through the course of an event, but it’s also highly blendable and can be easily touched up.

All of this said, makeup is only as good, or as bad, as the artist applying it. Skill and skin type will be the most significant factors in your results, so be sure you feel comfortable with your makeup stylist and schedule a couple trial appointments before your wedding day.

Dear Ms. Lane,
I recently watched my sister go through the process of changing her name – and listened to her bitch and moan throughout the months it took. There has to be an easier way. Can you help me through this minefield?

Samantha Feldon
Algiers

Changing your name – if you chose to take your husband’s surname or hyphenate it – can be a tedious process full of pitfalls. You will need to notify government agencies, financial institutions and insurance companies; basically, anyone you’d inform of a change of address will need to be informed. Below are your first steps:

1. Obtain certified copies of your marriage license (you will need at least two, since the one you’ll send in step No.

2 probably won’t be sent back).

2. Begin with the Social Security Administration (this will help you with the financial institutions on your list as well as the IRS who will be notified by the administration). You can (800) 772-1213, its automated system, that will talk you through the process for free.

3. Visit the Department of Motor Vehicles and get a new driver’s license. Bring your certified marriage license, your current driver’s license and a good book or video game.

4. Alert your employer and update your work records and benefits.

5. Contact your bank, which will most likely require an in-person visit to verify your new driver’s license.

6. Notify your creditors; if you’re not certain which companies to contact, request a copy of your credit report.

7. Continue down your alert list, which may include: landlord or mortgage institution, utilities,
insurers, doctors’ offices, investment accounts, voter registration board, passport office (you’ll need to have
a new one issued, which you shouldn’t do before your wedding as all tickets and travel documents must match), magazine subscriptions and alumni associations – oh, and friends and family.

After getting through these, the rest will be a matter of updating your name as you come across miscellaneous accounts and subscriptions.

There are also companies that will take care of this process for you. MissNowMrs.com, for example, costs $29.95 (plus $4.95 for a certified marriage license request form) and says it will save you “over 13 hours of name-change stress” – they even offer gift cards. After you create an account, there are three steps: Questions, Forms and File.

After answering a series of general questions, your answers will be used to auto-complete forms for Social Security, IRS 8822, passport, United States Postal Services, driver’s license, voter registration, vehicle title and
registration and notification letters for your creditors. Those forms or letters will print out with instruction sheets; each will include the order of submission, fees, required documents, office locations and “insider tips.”

Whether you choose to negotiate the process on your own or through a service, make certain you have all of your required documents on-hand and organized before starting – that alone will save you time.

Dear Dee,
I have a close friend who is getting married next summer. Her fiancé has three sisters, and she has chosen them to stand as bridesmaids. I want to throw her a shower, but I don’t know if that’s appropriate since I’m not a member of the bridal party. My question is: Who can throw a shower?

Cynthia Paris
Covington


Traditionally there was only one bridal shower and it was thrown by the maid of honor, unless she was a member of the immediate family (because it might seem as if she was soliciting presents for the bride). But the modern shower comes in many forms, thrown by many different people with many new possibilities.

A shower is a fun way to celebrate prior to the wedding. Friends and family “shower” the bride-to-be with gifts to help prepare her to start her new household. Showers were historically for brides whose families thought they were marrying unsuitable men and refused to provide a dowry. Friends would gather and pitch in to help them begin their life together. Today, they’re a fun way to spend time with the bride (and, more and more often, with the couple), share stories, eat great food – and in New Orleans, often drink delicious cocktails.

Today, it’s normal for the bride’s best friend, maid of honor, the bridesmaids as a group, co-workers, her mother, her mother-in-law or their families’ close friends to throw a shower. A bride might have several showers if there are many people who want to be involved or if she’s getting married in a city in which her mother or mother-in-law isn’t a resident.

As far as cost, whoever throws the shower picks up the costs – though if the maid of honor is throwing the shower, she may ask the bridesmaids to help in the planning, setting up, decorating, serving and clean-up; that’s why showers are traditionally held in the hostess’ home, though a shower can be held practically anywhere, including a restaurant, park, beach or spa. A shower can feature a theme based around games, an activity (such as paint-your-own-pottery) or simply small talk. The only rule is: You should ask if the bride would like you to throw a shower (though you can surprise her with a shower if you check with her mother or her fiancé) and she dictates the guest list.

Showers can take place any time from four months before the wedding (as long as the wedding invitations have gone out) to just a couple of days before if many of the attendees will be traveling from out of town for the wedding. They are traditionally held on a Sunday, but any day of the week is appropriate.

You can choose a shower gift based on the couple’s registry, on the theme of the shower (for instance for a kitchen or boudoir shower) or a special item or experience you know they would like.

Email your question to Ms. Lane: dee@myneworleans.com.

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